SCU Student’s EMT Efforts Emerge From Personal Experience
EMTs saving her father inspired Kraus ‘19
By Ally O'Connor '20
Long before Christina Kraus ‘19 (Public Health) arrived on the Santa Clara University campus, she knew she wanted to work with emergency medical services. In 2011, as Kraus was completing middle school, an EMT saved her father’s life. That experience inspired her to join the field.
Now in her third year as a certified student EMT at SCU, Kraus says the training has broadened her college experience and helped her to define those future goals. Goal #1: Become a physician. Goal #2: Work as a physician in underserved communities.
According to SCU EMS Director Kennedy Sundberg, students who are accepted to the program must take EMT-B certification training with instructors from Foothill College, comprised of lecture-style classes about anatomy, proper patient care, and different types of calls, and Saturday labs to learn the hard skills, such as wrapping ankles, CPR, and running calls. After completion of the class, they have to take the NREMT, an exam for national certification.
Although she dedicated time throughout her first year at SCU to the course, the training wasn’t always so easy. Kraus admitted, “The first time I gave CPR, I thought that I was the one going into shock.”
The experience took place at Good Samaritan Hospital, while Kraus was doing rounds for her clinical hours to finish her EMT-B certification, and a nurse asked her to perform CPR on a code blue patient. “My hands were shaking,” said Kraus. “It was scary because the woman began bleeding into her intubation tube, but the nurse told me to keep going. We thought that we were going to lose her, but after ten minutes the woman finally regained a stable heartbeat. I later learned she had a young teenage daughter in the waiting room, which reminded me of myself when my dad needed CPR. It was a moving moment.”
Student EMTs like Kraus typically work four or five 15-hour shifts on call per month. Overnight, from 5:00pm to 8:00am, EMTs operate out of the Cowell Center. They answer any calls, ranging from altered mental state to sports injuries, diabetes, chest pain, and more.
Kraus graduated at the end of fall quarter and is studying for the MCAT.